The government of the United Kingdom announced today that they are launching a review of their current Feed in Tariffs (FITs) program. This review comes less than a year after the launch of the FITs program and follows concerns that commercial-scale solar farms are accessing money that was meant to help homes, communities and small businesses generate their own electricity. The FITs program is restricted to projects of 5 MWs or less and was intended to encourage small scale installations with price tariffs for projects as small as 1.5kW. Into its first year, already more than 21,000 installations have been registered under the FITs program, with the majority being domestic solar photovoltaic installations. The total installations under the FIT program have a combined capacity of 76.66MW.
The review is also part of the UK government's commitment to reduce the costs of FITs in 2014-2015 by 10%. Initially, FITs was scheduled for a review to commence in 2012 but the concern over large-scale solar farms and the need to give industry added certainty to invest prompted the government to begin the review early. The review is expected to be completed by the end of the year and tariffs are expected to remain unchanged until April 2012. Click here for more information on the review and the FITs program.
The UK government's response is similar in principal to that of the Ontario Power Authority's announcement last week for commercial aggregators under the microFIT program. Governments appear to be increasingly aware of the commercial incentives to small-scale renewable generation projects when done in large numbers and are attempting to create programs that balance the overall goals of a Feed in Tariff system with commercial realities.